We didn’t plan our trip to OBX to be a lighthouse tour, it just worked out that way and we’re glad it did!
The first lighthouse we stumbled upon was the Assateague Lighthouse. We could see it from our campsite at Toms RV Park, and watching it flash when it was dark was a little hypnotizing. While we were on the boat tour we were told that a local hotel had petitioned the city council to have it turned off because it bothered some of their guests. Really? Isn’t that what shades are for?
The lighthouse was constructed in 1867 to replace a shorter 45 foot lighthouse. it is now 142 feet tall, and was recently renovated in 2013. It’s located within the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge and can be accessed by crossing the bridge from Chincoteague Island over the Assateague Channel.
The second lighthouse we found by accident. We took a day trip out to Cape Hatteras and on the way we saw the signs for the Bodie Island Lighthouse and just had to take a quick detour.
The current lighthouse is the third that has stood in the vicinity of Bodie Island and was built in 1872. It’s located just south of Nags Head, a few miles before the Oregon Inlet. The lighthouse is 165 feet tall and has 214 steps that spiral to the top.
The preceding lighthouses stood south of the Oregon Inlet on Pea Island in an area now under water. The first lighthouse was built in 1847 and abandoned in 1859 when it began to lean due to a poor foundation. The second was built in 1859 and then destroyed in 1861 by Confederate troops who feared it would be used by the Union as an observation post during the Civil War.
Our next stop was to the Cape Hatteras lighthouse. it is the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, measuring 198 feet from the bottom of the foundation to the top of the pinnacle of the tower. There are 269 steps from the ground to the lens room.
The lighthouse has a very interesting history since it was relocated due to beach erosion. Here’s a link with more information about the lighthouse, and how they moved it Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.
The final lighthouse we visited during our trip was to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse.
This red brick lighthouse, 32 miles north of the Bodie Island Lighthouse, towers above the northern Outer Banks in the historic Corolla Village. It is 158 feet tall and has 220 steps to the top of the lighthouse where one can see panoramic view of the Currituck Sound, Atlantic Ocean, and the Currituck Outer Banks.
Approximately one million bricks were used to build the lighthouse. Being conical in shape, the thickness of the wall at the base is 5 feet 8 inches, and at the top by the parapet is 3 feet. The exterior was left unpainted to distinguish this lighthouse from other regional lighthouses, and the Currituck Beach Lighthouse was the last major brick lighthouse built on the Outer Banks.
Just in case you’re wondering why there are no pictures of the views from the top of the lighthouses, our legs aren’t what they used to be so we didn’t attempt the climbs. I’m sure the local emergency responders are thankful for that. 🙂